INCREASING exports and that too substantially is important to steer the country out of debt trap and take it towards self-reliance.
At present, unfortunately, the country has one of the lowest levels of exports in the world as a percentage of its GDP- around eight percent.
Instead of being a producer country given the size of our human resource, we have become a consumer country.
Chairing a meeting on Saturday, Prime Minister Imran Khan directed the Commerce Division to prepare a strategic exports framework within the next two weeks.
The meeting was informed that with focus on nineteen products including in the areas of IT, textile, medicines, and surgical items etc, the country’s current volume of exports could be increased by $ 30 billion.
The fact of the matter is that policies are prepared and targets are also set but no serious effort is made to achieve them. In the past also lofty exports target were set, but we never went close to them.
The authorities concerned will really have to show the intent for implementation of such policies and provide an enabling environment to the business community to achieve the targets.
Last year, the IT sector witnessed phenomenal growth, which really shows the talent of our youth. We have before us the example of India where the IT sector is booming and earning about sixty to seventy billion dollars in exports.
Our country can also earn massively through the IT by giving incentives to the industry and promoting quality education at the higher level in this particular field.
We will have to diversify our export basket and make our products competitive to get share in the world market. The focus must be on high value hi-tech products.
The government must accelerate work on the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) being established under the multi billion dollars China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.
Apart from attracting investment from China, our foreign missions should be activated and given targets to bring investment in these SEZs. This will immensely generate job opportunities and bolster our exports.